Andover — Edith “Dee” Florence Isele Johnson died peacefully the evening of June 18, 2013, surrounded by her family.
Born July 30, 1926, she had a happy childhood on Long Island with a large extended family.
She graduated early from Mineola High School as salutatorian of her class. A sister of Kappa Delta Sorority, she graduated from the College of William & Mary in 1948 with a business degree. In 1950, she married her college sweetheart, Carlton O. Johnson, beginning a 58-year journey together. Dee’s career began with the J. Walter Thompson Agency in New York City and Detroit. She then spent 13 happy years as a homemaker raising four young children in Bethpage, N.Y. After moving to Andover in 1968, Dee earned a degree in early childhood education at Salem State College and taught preschool until rheumatoid arthritis changed her life course. Despite her disability, from age 50 through 68, she worked as a sales manager for office supply companies in Andover and Woburn.
Dee enjoyed entertaining, skiing, skating, walking, and sailing. Her illness limited these activities in the early 1970s, but she continued to enjoy people, travel, music, theatre, bridge, scrabble, food, wine, and dogs. She loved the water. Throughout her life she followed current events and voted. She had a wonderful sense of color, her favorite was red, and she loved dusky blue. As she grew older, she enjoyed socializing, keeping up with her children, grand-daughters Olivia and Caroline, her church community, and her many friends.
She often said, “Well at least I have my health,” a testament to her indomitable spirit which grew from a perspective of the glass of life being nearly full. Her attitude, as she coped with numerous surgeries, hospitalizations, cancer, the decline of her hearing and sight, inspired her caregivers and friends. After her loving husband Carl died in 2008, her son, Curtis moved to her home to lead her care team.
Dee and Carl raised four unique children, Mark, Scott, Sue Ellen and Curtis. She was close to many extended family members, including her brother Tom, who survives her, and her sister Grace, who died in 2008.
She was loved for her good humor, her interest in every person, her intelligence, her thrift, her gentleness, determination, and resilience. She loved crowds and commotion, and was up for anything. She wanted the best for everyone. She lived in the present while cherishing all the good in life.
ARRANGEMENTS: A service of Thanksgiving for Her Life will be held Saturday, June 29, at 11 a.m., at Faith Lutheran Church on South Main Street in Andover.
Memorial contributions may be made to Faith Lutheran Church, 360 South Main St., Andover, MA 01810, or the Arthritis National Research Foundation, 200 Oceangate, Suite 830, Long Beach, CA 90802, or at www.curearthritis.org.